OTTAWA – In April 1917, Canadians captured Vimy Ridge in one of the First World War’s most costly battles. One hundred years later, the Canadian War Museum explores the battle itself and the many ways it has been commemorated, through compelling upgrades to its existing section exploring the Battle of Vimy Ridge, as well as the exciting new temporary exhibition, Vimy – Beyond the Battle.
“A significant testament to the grit and determination of Canadian troops, over the past century Vimy Ridge has taken on almost mythic stature,” says Stephen Quick, Director General of the Canadian War Museum. “Through these two exhibitions, and a range of other activities at the War Museum, visitors have the opportunity to learn not only the battle itself, but the light it shines upon traditions of remembrance and commemoration in this country.”
“The Canadian War Museum is highlighting the wealth of our history and heritage for Canada 150,” said the Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Canadian Heritage. “I invite everyone to come visit the new exhibitions marking the centennial of the Battle of Vimy Ridge—a vibrant tribute to this tragic chapter of our past and to the sacrifices of the Canadians who served our country.”
Located in the War Museum’s popular South African and First World Wars gallery, the section on the Battle of Vimy Ridge goes into greater depth than ever before to explore all aspects of the battle – from strategic planning and field preparations to the experience of combat – which led to the loss and injury of over 10,200 Canadians between April 9 and 12, 1917. The section also explores the importance of training and aerial reconnaissance and the ultimate importance of the battle within the broader context of the war in 1917.
Over the past century, Canadians have remembered and commemorated the Battle of Vimy Ridge in many different ways, and for many different reasons. Developed by the War Museum with the generous support of John and Elizabeth Irving, Vimy – Beyond the Battle uses the Battle of Vimy Ridge as a starting point to shed light on how and why we commemorate, by exploring private and collective memories of the battle itself, the First World War, and more recent conflicts.
The exhibition also includes educational programming in the Eaton Activity Hub, where visitors are invited to sculpt a memorial in clay and contribute to a commemorative artwork. Visitors can also write a message to a loved one on a paper containing poppy seeds. After the exhibition closes, the messages will be planted to sow a commemorative garden.
Vimy – Beyond the Battle will be on display at the Canadian War Museum from April 6 to November 12, 2017. The renewed Battle of Vimy Ridge section opens to the public on April 6. On April 9, the anniversary of the start of the Battle of Vimy Ridge, admission to the Canadian War Museum will be free. For more information and a list of activities, please visit warmuseum.ca/vimy100.
The Canadian War Museum gratefully acknowledges the support of its Official Partners of the First World War Centenary: John and Pattie Cleghorn and Family; HCol (Ret’d) John C. Eaton, O.Ont., K.St.J., D.Com. and HCol (Ret’d) Sally Horsfall Eaton, S.S.St.J., C.D., R.N., LL.D.; The Friends of the Canadian War Museum; TD Bank Group; VISITFLANDERS and the R. Howard Webster Foundation.
The Canadian War Museum is Canada’s national museum of military history. Its mission is to promote public understanding of Canada’s military history in its personal, national, and international dimensions. Work of the Canadian War Museum is made possible in part through financial support of the Government of Canada.
For more information, visit warmuseum.ca.